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UFC lightweight vet Edson Barboza to make featherweight drop

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UFC 197 Photos Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

After nine years and 22 fights as a UFC lightweight, Edson Barboza is trying something new.

Barboza, 33, will make the drop to the featherweight division for his next fight, his longtime manager Alex Davis confirmed to MMA Fighting following a report from Combate.

The move comes amid a steep skid for the striking sensation, who’s gone 1-4 in his past outings at lightweight, including a split decision loss Davis attempted to appeal due to referee error. Barboza had beaten Felder by unanimous decision in a 2015 meeting.

Davis said Barboza has struggled to keep on weight between fights and typically cut between 10-12 pounds to compete at lightweight. He said Barboza’s doctor has cleared the move added “it shouldn’t be hard at all. But we will see.”

Barboza remains unbooked for his next bout, Davis said.

Author of one of the UFC’s most famous knockouts, Barboza has faced nothing but top competition over the past two years. He went the distance with current champ Khabib Nurmagomedov despite constant damage from ground and pound. He then took on onetime interim title challenger Kevin Lee and was stopped in the fifth round. A masterful performance against Dan Hooker followed, but he was then stopped by Justin Gaethje in a “Fight of the Night” showing.

Barboza has won nine performance bonuses as a lightweight.